The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 6

Isa 6:1

Isa 6: "The majestic prophecy of Isa provides a continuing panorama of wonder. Isa 6 begins a new section, and focuses attention on the glory of the King, the Lord Jesus. It opens with a significant historical background: the death of king Uzziah -- the man who violated the sanctity of the temple, and died a leper. It is significant that this vision of the glory of the spiritual temple is set against the death of the monarch who violated the visible temple. It is also the time of an outstanding earthquake, only elsewhere mentioned in the Zec 14:5, as typical of the earthquake of the future. The chapter reveals the character of the future Monarch to sit on the throne of David. He would be associated with sin (v 6), representing a people found in transgression (v 5), but would be elevated by Yahweh to fulfil His ultimate purpose to reveal His righteousness and to save the Seed of His selection... The voice of Messiah is obviously found in the message, as he sets forth to deliver the message of Isaiah to the generation (v 8), and by him, the Isaiah type are cleansed. His great sacrifice was for himself (v 7) that it might be for all those in him (v 13). The glory of this ch becomes the introduction to the great prophecy of Emmanuel in the chs that follow [Isa 7-12]" (GEM).

Isaiah was confronted by God's preeminence (Uzziah died and he saw God alone: v 1); by God's purity ("Holy, holy, holy": v 3); and by God's power (the earthquake: v 4)!

IN THE YEAR THAT KING UZZIAH DIED: Uzziah repr the sin-cursed rulers of this world; in the year they "die", then the Lord Jesus Christ will be exalted in his temple!

SEATED ON A THRONE: A "throne" in the Temple? The mercy-seat above the ark, in the Most Holy Place.

HIGH AND EXALTED: It was God, not Uzziah, who was to be exalted in His Temple -- in ct to the unseemly self-exaltation attempted by Uzziah (2Ch 26:16,21). "Exalted", or "lifted up", ref to God revealing His righteousness in His Son Christ on the cross (Joh 12:34; cp John 12:40,41; cp also Isa 52:13).

THE TRAIN OF HIS ROBE: Ref to the High Priest garments (Exo 28:33,34). God manifesting Himself in Christ, who will be a priest upon his throne (Zec 6:13).

Isa 6:2

SERAPHS: Describes the flying serpents of the wilderness (Num 21:6,8; Isa 30:6; Deu 8:15). Related to the verb describing the refining, cleansing fire of God, esp in judgment or retribution. So perhaps here, = God's instruments (the angels of "evil", or "destroying angels": Psa 78:49?) inflicting His righteous penalty for sin. Cp the 6-winged living creatures in Rev 4: God's judgments held in readiness.

COVERING THEIR FACES: Sym God turning away His face so as not to behold evil (Hab 1:13), ie that of Uzziah. "There is some appropriateness in their faces being covered, for if it had not been for the Fall in Eden their grim work would not be necessary" (WIsa 135). Also, at this time, the original brazen serpent had become an object of idolatrous worship (2Ki 18:4).

WITH TWO THEY COVERED THEIR FEET: Temporarily resting from their labors? Ct Dan 10:6; Rev 1:15.

WITH TWO THEY WERE FLYING: Or "hovering", like the Passover angels: angels of evil were preparing for judgments, and protecting angels were doing their work also!

Isa 6:3

THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS GLORY: "Earth" may = the whole Land, both north (invaded by Assyria) and south (under God's watchful protection). Either way, the Glory of God is at work!

Isa 6:4

// Amo 9:1, same scene?

FILLED WITH SMOKE: In ct with the incense offered by Uzziah. Sig the wrath of God (cp Psa 18:7,8; Exo 19:18; Deu 29:20) -- hiding God's glory until His judgments are finished. "There is a close parallel to all this in Rev 15; 16, where there are cherubim and a hymn to the praise of God; the temple is filled with smoke, and the wrath of God is expressed in a violent earthquake (Rev 15:1,3,7,8; 16:18,19)" (WIsa 136).

Isa 6:5

"Whenever God has chosen men for some great duty and has prepared them for it by the vision of His holiness, their complete unfitness for divine use has been realized: 'I am a man of unclean lips,' said Isaiah, when he had heard the three-fold acclamation of God's holiness. This was not because he was base or depraved; on the contrary he was a 'holy man of God' chosen to be the channel of the most outstanding revelations of the Messiah. And not only did he realize his own uncleanness of lip, but he felt also that his race, his people, were likewise unclean: 'And I dwell in the midst of an unclean people.' The sin-conscious man is aware of his oneness with his fellows as members of a sin-enthralled race" (CGal 71).

I AM RUINED: An overwhelming sense of his own unworthiness and incompetence and uncleanness, as with Moses (Exo 3:6,11), Jeremiah (Jer 1:6), and Job (Job 32:6).

I AM A MAN OF UNCLEAN LIPS: The same effect -- a feeling of unworthiness -- was produced on others by the presence of God (Jdg 6:22; 13:22; Job 42:5,6; Luk 5:8; Rev 1:17).

UNCLEAN LIPS: Sig leprosy (like that of Uzziah, Hezekiah), or moral leprosy (cp Isa 1:5,6). "The leper was commanded to go with rent clothes, and head bare, and lip covered, as he made his warning cry: 'Unclean, unclean' (Lev 13:45)" (WIsa 137).

AND I LIVE AMONG A PEOPLE OF UNCLEAN LIPS: The leprosy of sin-nature, from which all mankind suffers. Ct the promise of a "pure lip" in Zep 3:9.

Isa 6:6

A LIVE COAL: A burning coal from the altar of incense, related to the altar of burnt offering. It was only by the perfect offering for sin that Isaiah could be cleansed of his "leprosy". (Was Jeremiah's mouth likewise touched by a live coal: Jer 1:9?)

WHICH HE HAD TAKEN WITH TONGS FROM THE ALTAR: Even though it could only be a perfect man to effect such cleansing, the angels were necessary in this operation (Heb 1:14).

Isa 6:7

YOUR SIN ATONED FOR: "Atoned for" = Heb "kippor". Did this happen on Day of Atonement?

Isa 6:8

HERE AM I. SEND ME!: "Isaiah's reaction to this devastatingly awe-inspiring experience might well have been a shrinking away into silent reluctance. But instead, the declaration of sins forgiven impelled him to a willingness to go as the Lord's messenger, although not knowing whither he went" (WIsa 138).

Contrast with examples of prophetic reluctance: Exo 4:10; Jer 1:6; Eze 3:14; Jon 1:3; 1Ki 19:10; Luk 5:8,10; 9:59; 18:23; Act 13:13; 18:9.

Isa 6:9

Vv 9,10: A divine judgment for the wickedness of Israel: cp Christ's use of these words in Mat 13:12-15. Also see Deu 29:4; Joh 12:39,40. Israel were vessels of wrath fit for destruction (Rom 9:22; cp Rom 11:25,26).

Isa 6:11

HOW LONG...?: That is, 'How long will Your judgments last when they come?' (cp Jer 12:4; Dan 12:6; Zec 1:12; Psa 90;13; Rev 6:10).

Isa 6:13

CUT DOWN: Like abominable branches (Isa 14:19), and two "abominable" kings, Jehoiakin and Jeconiah (Jer 22:19,28).

SO THE HOLY SEED WILL BE THE STUMP IN THE LAND: "Nevertheless the 'tree' of Israel will survive through the 'holy seed' foretold in the next prophecy (Isa 7:14), the rod out of the stem of Jesse, the Branch out of his roots (Isa 11:1), the Branch of the Lord who will be beautiful and glorious (Isa 4:2), the dead Tree of Golgotha a veritable Tree of Life" (WIsa 141).

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